Eleanor Winters is a calligraphic artist who divides her time between Paris and New York. After reading and reacting to the hundreds of commemorative plaques around Paris, she began to work on a series of calligraphic paintings, using the texts from the A la Mémoire plaques as the inspiration for and the content of the paintings. The purpose of the artist has been to express the gravity and emotional impact of the texts through calligraphy, color and texture.
The project has been underway for several years and has evolved into a large – and ongoing – series of works on watercolor paper, using layers of paint and ink, writing and rewriting the texts in a variety of styles ranging from traditional calligraphy to more expressive gestural lettering. The artwork ranges in size from approximately 9” x 12” to 18” x 24”. Media include gouache, watercolor, acrylic paint, oil pastel and a variety of inks.
The texts on the commemorative plaques vary, but certain words and expressions repeat themselves: the number of deported children (1200 in the 11th arrondissement, for example) and such words as complicité, la barbarie nazie, déportés et assassinés (complicity, Nazi barbarity, deported and assassinated). There is poetry in the language as well as almost unbearable sorrow and shame.
Eleanor's goal as an artist has been to take these words off the walls of old school buildings and convert them into works of art that focus the attention of the viewer once again on this devastating chapter of history. By means of lettering and color --the pattern of letterforms and words, as well as the sometimes illegible layering of calligraphic forms, -- she endeavors to combine the art of calligraphy and design with the message: Ne les oublions jamais (We must never forget them).